Tips for Parents Living with Chronic Illness

At Grant A Smile we understand the challenges of parenting with a chronic illness hence the reason for putting together these helpful tips on how you can turn your pain to positivity, hope and little wins. At this time, it is even more important to focus on the the incredible gift given to you as parents – your children. Make sure they feel safe, loved and secure. Even when you are unwell, create an atmosphere of hope, address their concerns with patience and stay positive.

As a parent living with chronic illness, you are on a 24-hour working swift, no breaks, no distant sleep and no peace. Just when you think you need to take a break, then demands of parenthood take over such as managing sibling rivalry, cleaning, cooking, school runs, sports activities, play time and all can take a toll on a parent’s physical, emotional and mental state of mind. The last thing you need when you are unwell is an untidy, nosy and hectic home. Sadly, these are the realities of being a parent and the most important thing is to accept it and map out ways to cope with the daily struggles.


Dealing with chronic illness as a parent? Here is what you must remember:


You come first

If you don’t know how to practice self love, then you must learn it! Yes, it sounds selfish or even counter–intuitive to put your needs before that of your children or even your partner, but you must understand that is a vital step you must assume if you are going to achieve optimum levels of health. How can you serve others if you are unable to serve yourself? Remember you can’t drink from an empty cup!


Create time for relaxation

Watch a movie (comedy is highly recommended!), reading, arrange a date night with your friends or someone special, watch TV, try yoga if you can, meditation, early bedtime – don’t try to be a superhero mummy or daddy. You will simple burn out if you try to do everything. You must delegate roles and seek help from others where you can. For example, when it’s time for bed, ask your spouse/partner to take the kids to bed and read them their bedtime stories.

Adapt a positive mindset

Be thankful and grateful of all the positives in your life. Count your blessings and name them one by one. Trust me; there is plenty to be thankful for. So stop dwelling on the negative things that have happened or happening now. ‘Yes, this is easier said than done’. I hear you say. However you must remember that you are not your illness. Your ability to stay positive and be thankful even in the smallest things can change your perceptions on a daily basis. This is a skill that takes practice and yes, it can be done.


Learn to accept the cycle of unpredictability

Chronic diseases are often unpredictable so it is essential to accept what you cannot change. One day you may wake up and feel like you are on top of the world but the next day it feels as if the world is literally crumbling down on top of you. Thus is the cruel nature of chronic illnesses. As a parent living with a chronic illness, this is definitely going to stress you and frustrate you more often. You will wish you could do more, feel better and just be like every other parent. But you must remember that this could happen to anyone and feeling guilty will only make you feel worse. The needs of your children are endless, huge and constant, but your physical well-being may not be. Understanding this, accepting this, helping others around you accept and understand this can go a long way in reducing stress.

Join support groups and ask for help

Reaching out to other people via support groups who are going through similar struggles and even triumphs can provide the emotional support needed to get through the toughest of days and be a great source of encouragement and advice. You can join our Facebook parents support group here: this is a great resource for parents living with chronic illness. Members are from all over the world. It is crucial to find or start a local support group in your area could also be a great place to get support and make some great new and understanding friends. You are not an Island; don’t walk alone when you can walk with others.






Seek help from a mental health provider

Stress is a fact of life for everyone, but if you are suffering with a chronic illness and trying to balance your role as a parent, you may justifiably be under even more pressure. There is no shame in asking for the help and guidance from someone in the mental health field. This can be in the form of a psychologist, counsellor, therapist, etc.

To conclude, it is not a choice to be a parent living with chronic disease. You did not choose to be chronically ill, this was the hand you were dealt. So instead of letting it guilt you into oblivion, allow the fact that you are fighting on with this additional challenge, empower you. YOU ARE THE REAL SUPERHERO.

The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it. – C.C. Scott

We constantly need helpers and volunteer staff to work with us in achieving more with us. Consider giving a few hours of your time to help us reach more families

Comments are closed.